Her image accompanied me even in places the most hostile to romance.
On Saturday evenings when my aunt went marketing I had to go to carry
some of the parcels. We walked through the flaring streets, jostled
by drunken men and bargaining women, amid the curses of labourers,
the shrill litanies of shop-boys who stood on gaurd by the barrels
of pigs' cheeks, the nasal chanting of street-singers, who sang a
come-all-you about O'Donovan Rossa, or a ballad about the troubles
in our native land. These noises converged in a single sensation of
life for me: I imagined that I bore my chalice safely through a throng
of foes. Her name sprang to my lips at moments in strange prayers
and praises which I myself did not understand. My eyes were often
full of tears (I could not tell why) and at times a flood from my
heart seemed to pour itself out into my bosom. I thought little of
the future. I did not know whether I would ever speak to her or not
or, if I spoke to her, how I could tell her of my confused adoration.
But my body was like a harp and her words and gestures were like fingers
running upon the wires.
Man's Search for Meaning
marched to forced labor in a Nazi concentration camp:
A thought transfixed me: for the first time in my life I saw the truth
as it is set into song by so many poets, proclaimed as the final wisdom
by so many thinkers. The truth--that love is the ultimate and the
highest goal to which man can aspire. Then I grasped the meaning of
the greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and belief
have to impart: The salvation of man is through love and in love.
I understood how a man who has nothing left in this world may still
know bliss, be it only for a brief moment, in the contemplation of
his beloved. In a position of utter desolation, when a man cannot
express himself in positive action, when his only achievement may
consist in enduring his sufferings in the right way--an honorable
way--in such a position man can, through loving contemplation of the
image he carries of his beloved, achieve fulfillment. For the first
time in my life, I was able to understand the words, "The angels are
lost in perpetual contemplation of an infinite glory."
The Meaning of Love
Love is the only way to grasp another human being in the innermost
core of his personality. No one can become fully aware of the very
essence of another human being unless he loves him. By his love he
is enabled to see the essential traits and features in the beloved
person; and even more, he sees that which is potential in him, which
is not yet actualized but yet ought to be actualized. Furthermore,
by his love, the loving person enables the beloved person to actualize
these potentialities. By making him aware of the what he can be and
of what he should become, he makes these potentialities come true.
Rainer Maria Rilke
I hold this to be the highest task of a bond between two people: that
each should stand guard over the solitude of the other. For, if it
lies in the nature of indifference and of the crowd to recognize no
solitude, then love and friendship are there for the purpose of continually
providing the opportunity for solitude. And only those are the true
sharings which rhythmically interrupt periods of deep isolation ...
He had a dark face, with stern features and a heavy brow; his eyes
and gathered eyebrows looked ireful and thwarted just now; he was
past youth, but had not reached middle-age; perhaps he might be thirty-five.
I felt no fear of him, and but little shyness. Had he been a handsome,
heroic-looking young gentleman, I should not have dared to stand thus
questioning him against his will, and offering my services unasked.
I had hardly ever seen a handsome youth; never in my life spoken to
one. I had a theoretical reverence and homage for beauty, elegance,
gallantry, fascination; but had I met those qualities incarnate in
masculine shape, I should have known instinctively that they neither
had nor could have sympathy with anything in me, and should have shunned
them as one would fire, lightning, or anything else that is bright
Dead Poets Society
"We don't read and write poetry because it's cute. We read and write
poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race
is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering,
these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry,
beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote
from Whitman, 'O me! O life!... of the questions of these recurring;
of the endless trains of the faithless--of cities filled with the
foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life? Answer. That you are
here--that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes
on and you may contribute a verse.' That the powerful play goes on
and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?"
Take! O take those lips away,
that so sweetly were forsworn;
And those eyes, the break of day,
Lights that do mislead the morn;
But my kisses bring again, bring again,
Seals of love, but seal'd in vain, seal'd in vain.